Private investment is needed to improve the Housing Authority's dilapidated properties, and the agency also needs some of the 9,000 units of affordable housing slated to be built here added to its existing stock of 6,054 units, a new city report suggests.
The Housing Authority is mired in trouble — with some of its 12,700 residents living in crumbling, decades-old units, some of which were recently cited by the Department of Building Inspection for unsafe and unhealthy living conditions — and a big reason why is the “severe decline in federal funding over the years,” according to a report commissioned by Mayor Ed Lee and compiled by city agencies.
Poor oversight also is to blame. The Housing Authority may miss out on $2.8 million in federal funding this year for failing to hire simple maintenance workers despite a directive to do so. Losing such funding contributed to the authority's dire fiscal situation — it's scheduled to run out of money next month and won't be able to pay bills for electricity, police services and garbage collection.
A state of emergency — declared July 1 by the temporary Housing Authority Commission, which is composed of city employees — will allow for hiring the maintenance workers. That will fulfill one of the directives set by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development in a “recovery plan” for the authority.
But in the long term, public-private partnerships are needed if the “necessary improvement” to authority properties is going to be made, the report says.
Lee should instruct the Mayor's Office of Housing to evaluate the condition of the authority's 48 properties and use public-private partnerships — like the ones that rebuilt Valencia Gardens — to rebuild “a minimum of 2,000” homes within the next three years, the report says.
There's no timetable on when any of the suggestions can be applied.